By Dias, A.; Telhada, J.; Carvalho, M.S.
ESM 2011 - 2011 European Simulation and Modelling Conference: Modelling and Simulation 2011
Rural areas are characterized by low levels of population density and complex mobility patterns. Conventional transport services have shown to be very inefficient and ineffective in these environments and the provision of traditional public transport services in these areas presents, very often, low levels of service. In this context, an alternative solution - a Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) system - has already been adopted in several countries. Although the literature reports some successful cases of DRT systems, these flexible transportation systems have still some issues to be addressed. A main question that still requires additional interest of researchers is the assessment of their overall sustainability, since its implementation, in general, requires a strong technological component and the integration of several technologies. Additionally, they are highly dependent on the correct calibration of some organizational and functional parameters. In this paper, a comprehensive framework to support decision-makers in the design and planning of flexible transportation systems is proposed. The developed approach allows the simulation of different scenarios corresponding to different design alternative solutions. Accurate estimation of their global impact can be obtained providing effective support in the design and operational stages of a DRT system implementation.